Andrew Boxer, PhD, 1952-1999
February 3, 1999
Andrew M. Boxer, PhD, 46, assistant professor of psychiatry and director of the Evelyn Hooker Center for Gay and Lesbian Mental Health, died at his Chicago home Wednesday, January 13. The cause of death was lung cancer.
Boxer was a pioneer in the study of the mental health issues facing all adolescents and particularly the social, sexual, and psychological challenges facing homosexual youths.
"Andy was a very kind and gifted clinical psychologist and an outstanding scholar, with unusual sensitivity for the unique mental health problems of the gay and lesbian community," said Dr. Bennett Leventhal, MD, professor and section chief of child and adolescent psychiatry at the University.
His 1993 book, "Children of Horizons: How Gay and Lesbian Youth Are Leading a New Way Out of the Closet," co-authored with Gilbert Herdt, at the time a professor of human development at the University, was one of the first comprehensive studies of the psychological development of multiracial gay and lesbian adolescents. That book, combined with some of Boxer's other research projects, continues to serve as a guide for the development of social service programs to help homosexual youths cope with an elevated risk for HIV infection, depression and homelessness.
Born March 25, 1952, in Denver, Colorado, Boxer earned his BA in 1974 from Goddard College, in Plainfield, Vermont and his doctorate in 1990 from the Committee on Human Development at the University of Chicago. He served as director for the Center for the Study of Adolescence at Humana Hospital-Michael Reese from 1990 to 1991, was an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago from 1991 to 1992, and then came to the University of Chicago in 1992, where he was the founding director of the Evelyn Hooker Center. He also served from 1989 on as research director for the Women and Children with AIDS program at Cook County Hospital, where he helped develop a model care program for women and children with HIV.
In 1992, Boxer convened a support group for physicians and dentists with HIV, which became the longest-running group of its kind in the country.
A long-time volunteer with Horizons Community Services, he served as a member of Horizons' board of directors and chair of the program evaluation committee, where he helped develop services for gay and lesbian aging. Horizons honored him posthumously with their 1999 Humans First Award.
Boxer is survived by his mother, Ruth Boxer; two sisters, Helene Malek and Suzanne Sanders; and his life partner, Monte Hetland.
A memorial service is being planned for the weekend of March 13-14, 1999. Contributions may be sent in his name to Horizons Community Services, Inc., 961 W. Montana St., Chicago, IL 60614.
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